This Christmas one eastern Iowa man is grateful to be alive. His brush with death ended after a conversation at heaven's gate. In Health Plus, he shares the details of his meeting with Jesus. Danny Penn didn't expect the church picnic to end like this.
In August 2005 the 19-year-old was a passenger in a rollover on a gravel road. Head injuries landed him in a coma.
"They didn't know who we'd get when we got him back, if we ever got him back. They really didn't give us any hope," says his mom, Jan.
His mom says no one expected her son to wake up. There was talk about taking him off life support. But they didn't know what was happening behind-the-scenes, if you will. They didn't know about his conversation with Jesus.
"The one thing I do remember is waking up and I looked all around and there was nothing around but a golden gate. And I walked up to the gate and there was a man behind it and he came out to see me and he looked at me in the eyes and said, 'You've left too much work unfinished.' He looked at me and said, 'You must go back.' That's when I woke up," says Danny.
Just like that Danny came out of his 5-day coma.
"It's a miracle. It's a changed perspective with all three of my kids because until you, until you almost lose them you just don't know how thankful you are for them."
Now, three years later mom and son work together at Covenant Medical Center in Waterloo. The 23-year-old just graduated from Hawkeye Community College as an LPN.
Not just at Christmas, but year-round, Danny reflects on his face-to-face with Jesus and what it represents.
"It was Jesus. I believe it with all of my heart."
Confirmation for the Penns that miracles can--and do--happen.
Danny Penn never forgot the many people who helped him recover. His appreciation was reciprocated. He received a Covenant Rehabilitation Center 2008 Achievement Award.